Sunday, December 19, 2010

documentation

all the books say, if you're inseminating with sperm from a known donor, having a written agreement between all the adults involved in the baby-making process is pretty important.

we're close friends with our donor, and we have a trusting and respectful relationship. i don't forsee that changing, but if i've learned one thing in my 28 years on this planet it's that life is unpredictable. relationships shift, people change, unexpected events occur, and nothing is certain. our agreement is as much for our donor's peace of mind as it is for ours. we want to feel that our rights as sole parents of the baby are protected. he needs to know that he is not going to find himself responsible for parenting duties that he never signed up for.

discussing all the minute specifics has been a really good way of making sure we're all on the same page before we begin inseminating. for example, we had thought that we'd like to tell our child who the donor who helped conceive them was, but it turns out that b and b's b were not so keen on that. getting together to talk about this in the context of drawing up an agreement meant that we could discuss the issue and come to an understanding of how all parties felt about it.

this process isn't over. we'll continue to ponder and discuss our expectations, feelings and wishes until we're all happy. we've also factored a couple of clauses into the document that allow for certain of it's aspects to be changed should circumstances (always pertaining to the best interests of the child) change.

all my preliminary research into the nitty-gritty details what a document of this nature should include yielded frustratingly sparse results. i read books, i looked at blogs, but i ended up with gists and ideas rather than solid outlines. luckily b, and b's b did a lot of preparation before our first meeting, and had a well structured list of things to consider. i thought i'd go over some of these here, in the hope that they might prove a useful resource for anyone doing their own research.


conception 
  • where will insemination take place? will you collect semen from the donor and then take it to another location to inseminate?
  • how many times per cycle is your donor willing to commit to providing semen?
  • how will you communicate about timing? (it's good to be specific about this - email and text messages often go unchecked, so you may want to stipulate that phone communication is required for this)
  • how many cycles is your donor willing to commit to assisting you?
health
  • what tests will you require your donor to undergo? will you want them to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases? will you want them to have a sperm count?
  • who will pay for medical expenses? 
  • you may want to include a clause that requires your donor to disclose any unsafe sexual activity during the periods you are inseminating.
  • do you want to know about any potential genetic issues that may arise?
identity
  • what information will go on the birth certificate? (you'll want to consult relevant laws about what you are required to report)
  • will the child know the identity of the donor? 
  • will the donor's family know of the existence of the child? what will their role be in the child's life (if any)?
money
  • will your donor be in any way responsible for the financial maintenance of the child?
  • will your child be a beneficiary of your donor's will, or superannuation should the donor pass away during the child's lifetime? if your donor is partnered, or has other family, this could potentially be a particularly important question.
    family dynamic
    • will your donor have a role in the family?
    • how will you make decisions regarding the child's education, health, social and religious affiliations? 
    • where will the child live?
    • what kind of communication will the child and the donor have?

    we also included an agreed process of dispute resolution in the document, outlined escalation processes, and who would be responsible for the associated expense. the chances of this being an issue are slim, but again, you can never really know.

    i've found this process to be a very positive one. something about sitting down together and discussing all these details made it all seem like the wheels are finally grinding into motion, and this thing is really, truly happening.

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